Cincinnati Reds – MLB Trade Rumors 2021-01-18T17:13:14Z WordPress Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Reds GM Nick Krall: Castillo Trade Speculation "Completely False"]]> 2021-01-18T03:05:41Z 2021-01-18T03:05:41Z Much of the Reds’ offseason has been focused around moving players (i.e. trading Raisel Iglesias, non-tendering Archie Bradley) rather than adding, and eyebrows were raised last month when it was reported that Luis Castillo’s name was coming up in trade talks.  There wasn’t any indication that those talks were serious, however, and Reds VP/general manager Nick Krall issued a firm denial on the subject to reporters (including’s Mark Sheldon).  According to Krall, speculation about a Castillo trade is “completely false. We intend to have [Castillo] as a member of our rotation for 2021.”

Castillo and the Reds recently agreed to an arbitration-avoiding $4.2MM contract for 2021, and the right-hander is still under team control through 2023 thanks to two more years of arbitration eligibility.  Between this affordability, the three years of control, and Castillo’s front-of-the-rotation ability, there isn’t really any pressing reason for Cincinnati to move Castillo.  Since the Reds seems to be focusing on cutting payroll this winter, an argument could be made that Castillo could be attached to a deal that would get a bigger contract (i.e. Mike Moustakas, Nick Castellanos) off the books, but that would seem like an awfully extreme move.  One would imagine Castillo wouldn’t be traded unless the Reds were reversing course entirely and now looking to rebuild.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: 1/15/21]]> 2021-01-16T03:42:52Z 2021-01-15T16:51:22Z The deadline to exchange arbitration figures is today at 1pm ET. As of this morning, there were 125 arbitration-eligible players who’d yet to agree to terms on their contract for the upcoming 2021 season. Arbitration is muddier than ever before thanks to the shortened 2020 schedule, which most believe will lead to record number of arb hearings this winter. Be that as it may, it’s still reasonable to expect dozens of contractual agreements to filter in over the next couple of hours.

We’ll highlight some of the more high-profile cases in separate posts with more in-depth breakdowns, but the majority of today’s dealings will be smaller-scale increases that don’t radically alter a team’s payroll or a player’s trade candidacy. As such, we’ll just run through most of today’s agreements in this post.

I’ve embedded MLBTR’s 2021 Arbitration Tracker in the post (those in the mobile app or viewing on mobile web will want to turn their phones sideways). Our tracker can be sorted by team, by service time and/or by Super Two status, allowing users to check the status on whichever groups of players they like. You can also check out Matt Swartz’s projected arbitration salaries for this year’s class, and we’ll do a quick sentence on each player’s agreement at the bottom of this post as well, with the most recent agreements sitting atop the list.

Today’s Agreements (chronologically, newest to oldest)

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Marcus Semien]]> 2021-01-14T00:01:23Z 2021-01-14T00:01:23Z Over two months into free agency, shortstop Marcus Semien remains without a team. It’s not for lack of interest, however, as Jim Bowden of The Athletic tweets that the Athletics, Phillies, Reds and Red Sox have all been part of negotiations with Semien “to some extent.” It’s isn’t known how serious any of those discussions have gotten, however.

Semien, 30, spent the previous six years in Oakland, where he was regularly an average or better starter. He reached a new level in 2019, an MVP-caliber season in which he didn’t miss a game and posted 7.6 fWAR with a .285/.369/.522 line and 33 home runs, but wasn’t able to replicate those otherworldly stats last year. Semien bounced back to a major degree as the year progressed, however, evidenced by a 64 wRC+ in the first half and a 126 mark in the second.

Even though the A’s made it known on multiple occasions during and after the season that they wanted Semien back, they did not give him an $18.9MM qualifying offer. Now, considering he could price himself out of the team’s range in free agency, it seems doubtful low-budget Oakland will win the bidding for Semien. Thanks in part to the pandemic, the A’s don’t seem as if they’ll spend much this winter.

Philadelphia and Cincinnati appear to be more realistic fits for Semien, who would certainly address their gaping holes at shortstop. The Phillies could plug him in to replace Didi Gregorius, another notable veteran shortstop who’s currently a free agent. Freddy Galvis is a free agent for the Reds, meanwhile, leaving Jose Garcia as at least the temporary front-runner to start for them next season. Garcia doesn’t appear ready for that role, though: He never played above High-A ball before last year, when he reached the majors and batted .194/.206/.194 with no home runs, 26 strikeouts and one walk in 68 plate appearances.

Unlike Oakland, Philadelphia and Cincinnati, Boston is targeting Semien as a second baseman, per Bowden. That isn’t surprising, as it was reported last month that teams have shown interest in Semien as an option at the keystone this offseason. Boston already has a set left side of the infield with shortstop Xander Bogaerts and third baseman Rafael Devers, but it still has to sort out second – a position that isn’t foreign to Semien. He played 77 games there as a minor leaguer and another 29 in the bigs with the White Sox from 2013-14.

Along with where he’ll go, an obvious question centering on Semien is how much it will take to sign him. When the offseason began, MLBTR predicted Semien would reel in a one-year, $14MM contract, but as Steve Adams wrote in November, others have been far more bullish in regards to his forthcoming deal. If teams are confident Semien is more the player he was in 2019 and in the second half of 2020, he could indeed collect a substantial payday over multiple years.

TC Zencka <![CDATA[Latest On Reds’ Trade Discussions]]> 2021-01-11T17:38:57Z 2021-01-11T17:38:57Z The Reds and Nationals are known to have discussed a possible deal around third baseman Eugenio Suarez, and the failure to complete a deal seems to hinge on the Nats’ unwillingness to part with top pitching prospects Jackson Rutledge and Cade Cavalli, per MLB Insider Jon Heyman (via Twitter). Rutledge and Cavalli were the Nats’ top draft choices in the past two drafts. It’s not a surprise that Washington would hold on tight, as their system isn’t known for tremendous depth, and they traditionally value starting pitching. Besides, ace Max Scherzer will be a free agent after this season, and at some point, the Nats will need to graduate top pitching talent in order to maintain the standard they have set in the rotation. Any deal with the Nats would probably have to center on Carter Kieboom. If the Reds believe in Kieboom’s ability to play shortstop, he would make sense as a starting point for a deal.

The Reds seem more open to the idea of moving Mike Moustakas or Nicholas Castellanos, but neither has generated as much trade interest as Suarez, tweets Heyman. Despite an uninspired 104 wRC+ in 2020, Suarez remains the Reds’ most-compelling bat. A .214 BABIP was down by almost 100 points from his career average, and a shoulder injury might have slowed his production. His 29.0 percent strikeout rate is a touch high, but Suarez still boasts patience (13.0 percent walk rate) and power (.268 isolated power), as well as long-term control on a reasonable contract. The 29-year-old Suarez will make $10.79MM in 2021 before three years at $11.29MM and a $15MM club option in 2025. Relative to Moustakas (three years, $16MM AAV with club option) and Castellanos (three years, $15.3MM AAV with mutual option), Suarez’s deal looks like a bargain, and he’ll be just 33-years-old at the end of the 2024 season.

The most likely place for the Reds to add from outside the organization remains shortstop, as their 2021 starting shortstop doesn’t appear to be on the 40-man roster at present, writes the Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans. The organization clearly does not view Senzel as an option there, and Jose Garcia likely needs more the in the minors after being rushed into action in 2020. That could mean trading for a shortstop, but with so many options still available on the market – Marcus Semien, Andrelton Simmons, Freddy Galvis, Didi Gregorius – free agency remains their likeliest route to add an infielder.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Reds Weren't Exploring Francisco Lindor Trade]]> 2021-01-09T16:54:13Z 2021-01-09T16:53:13Z
  • “The Reds were not involved in making any push to acquire Francisco Lindor” before the Indians dealt Lindor to the Mets on Tuesday,’s Mark Sheldon writes.  Acquiring Lindor to fill their hole at shortstop would’ve been quite the pivot for the Reds, whose offseason focus to this point has largely been on cutting salary, between trading Raisel Iglesias to the Angels, non-tendering Archie Bradley, and being open to trade offers for many high-priced stars.  This isn’t to say that Cincinnati might not yet sign a shortstop from amongst the well-known free agent names still on the market, but Lindor was likely a bridge too far, given the prospect cost to pry him away from Cleveland and the likelihood that the Reds wouldn’t be able to sign Lindor to an extension beyond the 2021 season.
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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Reds Sign Rocky Gale To Minor League Deal]]> 2021-01-09T04:32:22Z 2021-01-09T03:01:12Z
  • The Giants have signed right-hander Jay Jackson to a minors contract, MLBTR has learned. Marc Delucchi was first to report that the two sides were close to a deal.  Jackson has seen some action in the majors as a member of the Padres (2015) and Brewers (2019), with whom he has combined for a 4.67 ERA alongside a 33.6 percent strikeout rate and a 12.5 percent walk rate in 34 2/3 innings. But Jackson has been big in Japan, where he has spent parts of four seasons (including 2020 with the Chiba Lotte Marines) and recorded a superb 2.16 ERA across 183 innings in Nippon Professional Baseball. Jackson returned stateside with the Reds last August, but he didn’t pitch for them in 2020.
  • The Reds have signed catcher Rocky Gale to a minor-league deal with an invitation to MLB spring training, reports Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer (via Twitter). Despite having played in parts of four MLB seasons, Gale has compiled just 37 career plate appearances at the highest level. However, the 32-year-old (33 in February) has a serviceable .279/.316/.359 slash line in parts of nine Triple-A campaigns.
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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Reds Acquire Art Warren For Cash Considerations]]> 2021-01-06T19:41:18Z 2021-01-06T19:15:21Z The Reds have acquired right-hander Art Warren from the Rangers for cash considerations, both teams announced (Twitter links). Warren had been designated for assignment on December 26th, at which point it seemed fairly certain that Warren would latch on somewhere. The Reds make for a natural fit having moved out a couple of bullpen arms this winter, and it doesn’t hurt that Warren is an Ohio native. The 27-year-old will have an opportunity to compete for a spot in the Cincinnati bullpen.

    The Rangers had claimed Warren off waivers from the Mariners, but subsequently designated him for assignment to make room on their 40-man roster for Kohei Arihara. The Rangers had claimed Warren only as recently as October 21, 2020.

    Warren spent one day on the Mariners’ active roster in 2020 but did not make an appearance. He made six big league appearances for Seattle in 2019 after recording a 32 percent strikeout rate in back-to-back seasons in Double-A. Warren posted a 60.3 percent groundball rate across 31 2/3 innings in 2019. Conversely, his groundball rate at the same level in 15 2/3 innings the year before was just 39.4 percent. There’s a fair amount of year-to-year variance in Warren’s minor league track record, but there’s certainly enough to make him an interesting bullpen candidate for manager David Bell.

    Perhaps more importantly for the Reds, he’ll earn the league minimum. The Reds non-tendered Archie Bradley and traded Raisel Iglesias earlier this winter, removing two proven high-leverage arms from their bullpen stable, presumably for financial reasons. Adding Warren is a low-key move that doesn’t immediately move the needle for the Reds, but there is potential for Warren to make an impact in 2021

    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Coaching Notes: Reds, Orioles]]> 2021-01-06T19:04:26Z 2021-01-06T18:59:51Z The Reds have named Bryan Conger their new minor league pitching coordinator, per Bobby Nightengale of the Enquirer (via Twitter). Conger himself announced his hiring on Twitter. Conger spent the last two seasons coaching in the Rangers’ organization. The former head coach at Tarleton State, Conger has a history of data-driven innovation that fits the Reds’ ethos. J.J. Cooper of Baseball America wrote this about Conger when the Rangers initially hired him in January of 2019: “Individualization has been a key part of Conger’s approach. Each pitcher at Tarleton State had an individualized throwing program designed specifically for that pitcher. Conger viewed it as his job to use data as much as possible to help customize everything they did for each pitcher.” As the minor league pitching coordinator, Conger will have a broader scope at his fingertips than back in his Division II days, but the Reds no doubt value his personal approach.

    • Conger joines the Driveline/Reds family that also includes 25-year-old assistant pitching coach Eric Jagers. The former University of Iowa southpaw found his way to Driveline as an amateur pitcher struggling to stay healthy. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome further stymied his pitching career, importuning Jagers to commit early to a career in coaching, writes Bobby Nightengale of The Enquirer. Writes Nightengale, “The result was a meteoric rise through the sport. In three years, Jagers went from an injured college pitcher to the Cincinnati Reds’ Assistant Pitching Coach. At 25 years old, he’s one of the youngest coaches on any Major League staff.” Jagers takes over for Caleb Cotham – just 33-years-old himself – who was named the Phillies’ pitching coach this offseason.
    • In Baltimore, Chris Holt attempted to clarify his role for the upcoming season during a recent Zoom call, notes Roch Kubatko of (via Twitter). Holt has been the Orioles’ Director of Pitching, but he will slide into the dugout this year as manager Brandon Hyde’s pitching coach. He’s keeping his original title, however, which presumably puts an awful lot on Holt’s plate. Holt has been preparing for this role switch for years, with the organization hoping that Holt could form a cohesive organizational philosophy that he himself would usher to the big leagues as some of their developing hurlers made it to the Show. That’s presumably where they are now, with a number of young pitchers like Dean Kremer, Keegan Akin, Bruce Zimmermann, Hunter Harvey, Michael Baumann, Zac Lowther, and Alexander Wells already on the 40-man roster. Top prospects Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall are both approaching the bigs as well, though both are likely to start 2021 in Double-A.


    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Akiyama Made Timing Adjustment In 2021]]> 2021-01-04T03:34:10Z 2021-01-04T03:34:10Z
  • Shogo Akiyama had to make major adjustments to his swing during his first season with the Cincinnati Reds. The Japanese import explains the changes he made in this video linked to by Bobby Nightengale of The Enquirer (via Twitter). Essentially, Akiyama attributes his struggles at the plate to a timing issue, something he remedied by delaying his front leg lift. The change appeared to work. After producing just a 46 wRC+ with a triple slash of .192/.280/.247 in 83 plate appearances across 24 games in August, Akiyama rebounded with a 135 wRC+ over the rest of the regular season. Over 79 plate appearances in September and October, Akiyama slashed .317/.456/.365, helping the Reds into the playoffs.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Checking In On 2020’s Lowest-Scoring Offenses]]> 2020-12-31T21:55:30Z 2020-12-31T21:55:30Z Three of the 2020 campaign’s five lowest-scoring offenses belonged to National League playoff teams, but that’s not an ideal outcome if you truly want to make noise in October. Indeed, all three of those clubs (St. Louis, Cincinnati and Milwaukee) failed to advance beyond the playoffs’ initial round during the fall. So what have they and the league’s other two bottom-feeding offenses done to improve themselves this offseason? Not much, as you’ll see below…

    Pirates (219 runs scored, 73 wRC+):

    • The Pirates look even worse on paper than they did at the end of the season, having traded first baseman Josh Bell to the Nationals last week. While Bell had a horrid season in 2020, he was a star-caliber performer during the previous year, in which he slashed .277/.367/.569 with 37 home runs. The Bell-less Pirates haven’t done anything of significance to bolster their offense this winter, but the good news is that they should get a full 2021 (however many games that consists of) from third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, who ran roughshod over the league during a scintillating 95-PA debut in 2020. There’s also nowhere to go but up for holdovers such as Gregory Polanco, Bryan Reynolds and Adam Frazier, who each posted awful numbers last season.

    Rangers (224 runs, 67 wRC+):

    • The Rangers have a couple newcomers in outfielder David Dahl and first baseman Nate Lowe, who they hope will improve their attack in 2021. Otherwise, they’ll be counting on bounce-back efforts from the likes of Joey Gallo, Willie Calhoun, Nick Solak, Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor. It’s hard to imagine things will get any worse next year for that quintet, though Andrus and Odor have been trending in the wrong direction for years. The Rangers are down enough on Andrus these days that they’re planning on using him as a backup shortstop/utilityman behind Isiah Kiner-Falefa next season.

    Cardinals (240 runs, 93 wRC+):

    • The Cardinals’ place in these rankings is deceiving because a team-wide COVID-19 outbreak cost them two full games. Their 93 wRC+ was closer to average than horrendous, but that isn’t to say they don’t have work to do offensively. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt and outfielder Harrison Bader, two of their best hitters in 2020, are returning. But Brad Miller, who was second on the team in wRC+ (121), is a free agent. Going by wRC+, those three were the only above-average offensive players on last season’s roster. The Cardinals haven’t done anything thus far to better their offense, even though they’re facing questions almost everywhere. Catcher Yadier Molina is a free agent, as is second baseman Kolten Wong, while most of their outfielders underwhelmed at the plate in 2020.

    Reds (243 runs, 91 wRC+):

    • The Reds made a real effort to upgrade their offense last winter in signing Nick Castellanos, Mike Moustakas and Shogo Akiyama. Moustakas wound up having a typical season at the plate, but Castellanos and Akiyama fell short of expectations. Barring trades, no one from that group is going anywhere in 2021. Likewise, Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, Jesse Winker, Nick Senzel and Tucker Barnhart will hang around in key roles. Aside from Winker, who was fantastic in 2020, the Reds will need more from everyone listed in the previous sentence. They also need to upgrade at shortstop, where the largely untested Jose Garcia is their current starter, but it’s unclear whether the team will do so to a satisfactory extent during what has been a cost-cutting winter so far.

    Brewers (247 runs, 89 wRC+):

    • We’ll cap things off with another NL Central team, Milwaukee, which has joined its division rivals this winter in doing virtually nothing to better its chances of success in 2021. The Brewers opted against retaining infielder Jedd Gyorko, among their most productive hitters last season, instead paying him a $1MM buyout in lieu of exercising his $4.5MM option. They also declined team icon Ryan Braun’s option, but that was an easy decision because the six-time All-Star would have otherwise earned a $15MM salary in 2021. Braun, to his credit, was roughly a league-average hitter last season, which is more than you can say for most Brewers regulars. Whether or not the Brewers bring in outside help, better years from former NL MVP Christian Yelich, Keston Hiura, Avisail Garcia and Omar Narvaez would go a long way in helping the team tack more runs on the board in 2021.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Padres Seen As Front-Runners For Ha-Seong Kim]]> 2020-12-28T20:05:52Z 2020-12-28T15:41:19Z 9:41am: Sherman now tweets that the Padres are viewed as the favorites for Kim. A deal has not yet been completed, but the two sides have discussed a $7-8MM annual value over a term fewer than six years. If a deal is completed, Kim would step in at second base, with Cronenworth likely moving into the outfield.

    9:18am: Kim is on a flight to the United States this morning, per Jee-ho Yoo of South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency. While Daniel Kim of DKTV and ESPN tweets that Kim is headed to the U.S. to take a physical, that doesn’t mean he’s selected a team just yet. Kim needs to be present to complete a physical prior to his posting window closing, so it makes sense that he’s headed to North America at this time.

    Meanwhile, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Blue Jays and Padres are considered to be front-runners for Kim, with the Red Sox still looming as a possible but less-likely destination. The Mets and Reds have been “intrigued” by Kim, Sherman adds, but aren’t viewed as favorites to sign him.

    8:55am: It’s been less than 12 hours since the Padres agreed to their blockbuster acquisition of Blake Snell in a trade with the Rays, but it seems that’s not the only major roster move general manager A.J. Preller hopes to complete before the New Year. ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that San Diego is “taking a serious run” at free-agent infielder Ha-Seong Kim, who was posted for Major League clubs by the Korea Baseball Organization’s Kiwoom Heroes.

    Unlike most stars who are posted for MLB teams to bid on, Kim is squarely in the midst of his prime years. The 25-year-old has been a steady contributor for the Heroes throughout his career but has seen his offensive output explode over the past two seasons, even as the KBO has altered the composition of its ball in an effort to cut back on the league’s extremely hitter-friendly tendencies. Since 2019, Kim has batted .307/.393/.500 with 49 home runs, 62 doubles, three triples and a 56-for-62 showing in stolen base attempts.

    The Padres, of course, don’t have a pressing need for an infielder thanks to the presence of Manny Machado at third base, Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop and emergent Jake Cronenworth at second base. Kim, however, has experience at both shortstop and third base, and he’s viewed as a perfectly viable option at second base as well. He could give the Padres — or another club — a versatile super-utility piece who allows them rest their regular infielders a day per week or step into a larger role in the case of an injury. It’s also worth noting that Cronenworth, excellent 2020 debut notwithstanding, still has just 194 Major League plate appearances under his belt.

    There’s no clear front-runner for Kim at this point, although his market is nearing its conclusion. His 30-day posting period began on Dec. 2 and must be concluded by Jan. 1 at 5pm ET. The Blue Jays have made an offer of at least five years, and reports out of South Korea have indicated that he has multiple five-year offers in hand. It’s not clear whether the Padres have made a five-year proposal, but chatter surrounding Kim figures to pick up steam over the next few days as bidding for his services draws to a close.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Managers & Top Front Office Executives On Expiring Contracts]]> 2020-12-27T14:11:27Z 2020-12-27T02:28:41Z A unique set of challenges faced anyone running a Major League franchise in 2020, between dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and then the difficulties involved in playing games during the delayed-then-shortened season.  Nevertheless, it seemed like only a certain amount of slack was granted the sport’s managers and front office leaders (whether that top title was president of baseball operations, general manager, chief baseball officer, etc.) through the turbulent year, as we still saw a number of teams make changes either in the dugout or at the top of the baseball ops department.

    As such, it’s fair to assume that a “normal” amount of pressure to put a winning — or championship-winning — team on the field will be the same in 2021 as in any usual season, even if 2021 is already looking it may have its own share of abnormality.  That means that for managers and executives heading into the last guaranteed year of their contracts, job security will likely be on the line in the coming months.

    Thanks to Cot’s Baseball Contracts for information on the various contractual details of team personnel, though this list may not be complete.  Some teams don’t publicly reveal contract lengths of managers or front office execs, so it’s possible some of these names might be locked up beyond 2021 whether due to the original terms of their current deals or due to extensions that haven’t been announced.

    Astros: Originally signed to a one-year deal with a club option for 2021, Dusty Baker saw Houston exercise that option last summer, lining Baker up for his 24th season running a Major League dugout.  Recent comments from Baker indicate that the 71-year-old is taking something of a year-by-year approach to his future, though if the Astros again reach the postseason, one would imagine the team would certainly have interest in retaining Baker for 2022.  A longer-term extension seems unlikely, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if at least another club option (or even a mutual option) was tacked onto Baker’s deal to give both sides some flexibility going forward.

    Athletics: While major postseason success continues to elude the team, Oakland has reached the playoffs in each of the last three years.  This makes six postseason appearances for Melvin in 10 years managing the A’s, and it seems likely the team will discuss another extension for Melvin as he enters the final year of his current contract.  While Billy Beane’s possible departure would naturally have a major impact on the Athletics, the likelihood of longtime executive and current GM David Forst taking over the baseball operations department would probably mean that Melvin would be welcomed back.

    Blue Jays: Charlie Montoyo is entering the last guaranteed year of his original three-year contract, and the Jays hold a club option on Montoyo’s services for 2022.  That option could be exercised to give Montoyo a bit more security as a reward for leading Toronto to the playoffs last year, though expectations are certainly higher for the 2021 team.  It should also be noted that there hasn’t yet been any official confirmation that president/CEO Mark Shapiro has signed a new contract with the team after his five-year deal ran out after last season, but last October, Shapiro seemed to imply that a new deal was all but complete.

    Braves: After going from interim manager to full-time manager following the 2016 season, Brian Snitker has twice been signed to extensions — most recently last February, when Atlanta turned its 2021 club option on Snitker into a guaranteed year.  Snitker has led the Braves to three straight NL East titles and the team fell one game shy of the NL pennant last October, so Snitker seems like a prime candidate for another extension prior to Opening Day.

    Diamondbacks: 2020 was an overall disappointing year for a D’Backs team that was aiming for the postseason, but team president/CEO Derrick Hall indicated that the organization wasn’t planning to make any wholesale changes due to the season’s unusual nature.  This bodes well for manager Torey Lovullo as he enters the last year of his contract, and it seems possible Arizona could add another year to Lovullo’s deal just so he can avoid lame-duck status.

    Mariners: Both GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais were in the final year of their contracts when both inked extensions with Seattle in July 2018.  The terms of those extensions weren’t known, but 2021 would be the final guaranteed year for both if the extensions were three-year deals like their original contracts, though it’s possible Dipoto and Servais each got more security than just a three-year pact.  The Mariners have mostly been in rebuild mode since those extensions were signed, and with the team only starting to deliver on some of the young talent amassed in the farm system, ownership could give Dipoto (and quite possibly Servais) more time to see if they can finally get the M’s back to the playoffs.  Considering the previous extensions weren’t announced until midseason, we might not know Dipoto/Servais’ fate for some time — and if the Mariners get off to a particularly disappointing start, changes might be in the offing.

    Marlins: One of few holdovers from Jeffrey Loria’s ownership, Don Mattingly was signed to a two-year extension following the 2019 season that contained a club option for 2022.  The young Marlins reached the postseason last season, so Mattingly has a good case to at least get his option exercised at some point this year, and another extension could well be discussed if CEO Derek Jeter and GM Kim Ng are satisfied with the team’s progress.  It can’t hurt that Ng knows Mattingly well from her past days an assistant general manager with the Yankees and Dodgers.

    Mets: The winds of change have swept through the Mets organization this winter, yet Luis Rojas wasn’t affected, as team president Sandy Alderson announced that Rojas will remain in the dugout for 2021.  Making the move from quality control coach to manager after Carlos Beltran’s quick resignation last winter, Rojas signed a two-year deal with club options for both 2022 and 2023.  Expectations are definitely higher for Rojas under the Steve Cohen regime, but given all of the tumult of the 2020 season, Cohen and Alderson (plus newly-hired GM Jared Porter) seem interested in seeing what they actually have in Rojas before deciding on whether a new manager is required.

    Orioles: According to The Athletic’s Dan Connolly, “one industry source said it’s believed” that 2021 is the last guaranteed year of manager Brandon Hyde’s contract, with the club possibly holding a club option for 2022.  For that matter, executive VP/general manager Mike Elias didn’t have his contract terms revealed when he was hired in November 2018, so he could also be in his final guaranteed year if he hired Hyde on a similar timeline to his own deal.  It doesn’t seem like a change is coming in either the front office or the dugout, as the Orioles are still at least a couple of years away from coming out of a complete rebuild.  (Connolly makes the case that Hyde should be retained, as Hyde has had little to work with as manager and deserves a chance to steward an actual competitive roster.)

    Rangers: Chris Woodward is entering the last guaranteed year of his deal, with the Rangers holding a club option for 2022.  Woodward has a 100-122 record over his first two years in the Texas dugout, and since the team is looking to get younger in 2021, it doesn’t seem like an immediate return to contention is in the cards.  If it’ll be a year or two until the Rangers are done with what seems like a mini-rebuild, it’s possible the team might decide to hire a new manager to herald them into something of a new era.  Woodward may have to prove himself anew by shepherding this younger talent and keeping the Rangers as competitive as possible while they shuffle the roster.

    Rays: Erik Neander’s contract terms aren’t known, and it has been over four years since his promotion to the GM/senior VP of baseball operations position in November 2016.  So, if Neander’s new gig came with a five-year contract, it would be up at the end of 2021.  He makes the list due to uncertainty over his contractual situation, but it doesn’t seem like Neander and the Rays will be parting company any time soon, especially after the club reached the 2020 World Series.  Neander reportedly has no interest in leaving the organization and the Rays turned down the Angels’ request to speak with Neander about their GM opening earlier this offseason.

    Reds: 2021 is the last guaranteed year for manager David Bell, with the Reds holding a team option for 2022.  On the plus side for Bell, he led the team to the playoffs in 2020, though Cincinnati was swept out of the two-game wild card series without scoring even a single run against Atlanta pitching.  The Reds spent a lot of money to build that winning team, yet now seem focused on moving salaries, with Raisel Iglesias dealt to the Angels and such names as Eugenio Suarez and Sonny Gray also coming up in trade talks.  It remains to be seen if the Reds are trying to just trim payroll or make more wholesale cuts, and this direction could certainly impact Bell’s future if the club is already thinking rebuild.

    Rockies: Now through six full seasons as Colorado’s GM, Jeff Bridich’s contractual status is unknown.  Between the Rockies’ struggles over the last two years and the frosty relationship between Bridich and star third baseman Nolan Arenado, it would certainly seem like Bridich will need to get things turned around quickly.  However, payroll cuts appear to be on the horizon, and the front office is also dealing with the loss of two-thirds of the analytics department.  As has been noted many times in the past, Rockies owner Dick Monfort tends to give his employees lots of opportunities, but if Bridich’s contract is up any time soon, one wonders if Monfort might feel a change is necessary.

    Yankees: While no official statement has been made, owner Hal Steinbrenner clearly stated after the season that manager Aaron Boone will be returning in 2021, so it’s safe to assume the Yankees have exercised their club option on Boone.  There hasn’t been any buzz about an extension, and until then, there will be plenty of media focus on Boone’s lame-duck status.  Boone has a 236-148 record and three postseason appearances in his three seasons as manager, but as always in the Bronx, the focus is on playoff success — the Yankees have only made it as far the ALCS once during Boone’s tenure.  Anything short of a World Series appearance could spell the end of Boone’s stint as manager.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Reds Sign Edgar Garcia To Major League Contract]]> 2020-12-24T00:59:49Z 2020-12-24T00:59:49Z The Reds have signed right-hander Edgar Garcia, Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. It’s a major league deal, per Mark Sheldon of Garcia could earn a $600K salary if he makes the Reds’ roster, according to Nightengale.

    The Rays non-tendered the 24-year-old Garcia earlier this month, which came not long after they acquired him from the Phillies in August. But Garcia failed to keep runs off the board in a small sample of work as a member of the Rays, with whom he yielded four ER on three hits (including two homers) and four walks in 3 1/3 innings.

    Garcia saw much more action in 2019 with the Phillies, throwing 39 innings, but the results also weren’t great then. He ended the year with a 5.77 ERA/6.57 FIP and 10.38 K/9 against 6.0 BB/9.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Claim Deivy Grullon]]> 2020-12-23T19:31:32Z 2020-12-23T19:31:32Z The Reds have claimed catcher Deivy Grullon off outright waivers from the Red Sox, per announcements from both teams. Boston’s 40-man roster is full (following this afternoon’s signing of right-hander Matt Andriese), while Cincinnati’s 40-man roster is now at 33 players.

    Grullon, 24, has made extremely brief appearances in the Majors with both the Phillies (2019) and Red Sox (2020) over the past two seasons. In 13 plate appearances, he’s collected two hits, including a double, with a walk and three punchouts. There’s little to glean from such a small sample, but Grullon carries a .283/.354/.496 slash in 457 Triple-A plate appearances and a .264/.302/.494 line in a similar body of work in Double-A.

    Baseball America ranked Grullon among the best prospects in the Phillies’ system each year from 2014-20, right up until the Phils designated him for assignment in September and lost him on waivers to the Red Sox. While he never cracked the organization’s top 10 and was generally considered to be in the back half of the club’s top farmhands. Above-average power to his pull side and a strong throwing arm are regarded as his best tools.

    Grullon still has minor league options remaining, so he can give the Reds an additional depth option behind veteran Tucker Barnhart (assuming he isn’t traded as part of the team’s efforts to pare back payroll), young Tyler Stephenson and utilityman Kyle Farmer. Cincinnati non-tendered Curt Casali earlier this month.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Reds Sign Josh Osich, Matt Ball To Minor League Deals]]> 2020-12-21T23:08:03Z 2020-12-21T23:07:03Z The Reds have signed left-hander Josh Osich and righty Matt Ball to minor league contracts with invitations to major league spring training, Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer relays.

    The 32-year-old Osich divided last season between the Red Sox and Cubs, the latter of whom acquired him at the Aug. 31 trade deadline. Osich combined for 18 1/3 innings of 6.38 ERA/5.97 FIP pitching between the teams, and the 92.4 mph average he posted on his fastball fell well short of his lifetime mean of 95. On the bright side, Osich did log 11.78 K/9 against 2.45 BB/9 and record a 54.5 percent groundball rate. The Cubs designated Osich for assignment after their season ended.

    Ball, 25, hasn’t reached the majors since the White Sox used an 11th-round pick on him in 2013. Also a former member of the Rangers and Angels organizations, Ball has registered a 5.24 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 over 391 2/3 minor league innings.